OSU offers hundreds of courses that emphasize sustainability.  They have been organized below by class level:

Sustainability courses are courses in which the primary and explicit focus is on sustainability and/or on understanding or solving one or more sustainability challenge. These courses may have an explicit focus on sustainability, the application of sustainability within a field, or on providing skills and/or knowledge directly connected to understanding or solving one or more major sustainability challenges. 

Courses that include sustainability are primarily focused on a topic other than sustainability, but incorporates a unit or module on sustainability or a sustainability challenge, includes one or more sustainability-focused activities, or integrates sustainability issues throughout the course (uses sustainability as a “lens”).

How is sustainability defined for the purpose of this reporting?

Sustainability has been defined in many different ways.  Two definitions that encompass the broad nature of the term are as follows:

  1. Sustainability means using, developing and protecting resources in a manner that enables people to meet current needs and provides that future generations can also meet future needs, from the joint perspective of environmental, economic and community objectives. (2001 Oregon Sustainability Act)
  2. Sustainability is the point where human endeavors reflect social equity, political stability, and economic development that is balanced with the capacity of ecosystems to absorb impacts without declining ecosystem structure and function.

Why does OSU need to know whether a course incorporates sustainability?

As a member of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) the Sustainability Office tracks all aspects of sustainability across the OSU campus.  This includes maintaining a list of courses that incorporate sustainability. Additional outcomes of this work include greater student understanding and visibility of OSU's sustainability course capacity, support for the sustainability double degree and other programs that might benefit from a course list, and creating a network of sustainability practitioners.


OSU conducts annual sustainability assessments using STARS, a system used by nearly 700 higher education institutions worldwide.  STARS provides general guidance for designating sustainability courses.  In part, STARS bases its definitions on the principles outlined in the Earth Charter.  For additional info, please see the STARS Technical Manual.

If you do not find a course you feel should be listed, please email sustainability@oregonstate.edu.